Walt Disney Family Museum Grand Opening

It's Opening day for the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco! The first museum ever to be dedicated to Walt Disney is opening today and it's a major event. Located on the Presidio’s Main Post, three existing buildings were renovated for the Walt Disney Family Museum. The principal building, at 104 Montgomery Street, faces the Parade Ground and the total area of the three buildings is 77,000 square feet.

The Walt Disney Family Museum is a project of the Walt Disney Family Foundation, a private, nonprofit entity and is dedicated to telling the story of the “man behind the myth,” illustrating how his creativity and vision has shaped childhood in America and his impact on urban planning and the technical development of the film industry. In addition to the museum, the 77,000 square-feet facility will also house the Walt Disney Family Foundation’s offices and archive of photos, papers and other artifacts, which will be available for scholarly study.

The ten galleries of the Museum exhibits tell Disney’s story in his own words and those of his family, friends, and co-workers. Using a mix of historic materials and artifacts, Disney’s achievements will come to life through innovative displays that include listening stations, interactive media, and more than 200 video monitors. Much of the material is being generously lent by the Walt Disney Company and private collectors. Here is a description of each gallery.

Gallery 1: Beginnings: Walt Disney’s Early Years (1901-1923)

Walt Disney was born in Chicago in 1901. In 1906, his family moved to a Missouri farm, where he had an idyllic early childhood and first learned to draw. The farm failed, and in 1911 his family moved to Kansas City, where he rose at 3:30 am to deliver newspapers on his father’s paper route and fell in love with vaudeville and movies. In 1917, the family moved to Chicago, where Walt created cartoons for his high school yearbook, took classes at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, and tried to enlist in the U.S. Army. Rejected for being underage, he joined the American Ambulance Corps and arrived in France as World War I ended. When Disney returned to the United
States, he settled in Kansas City and got a job at a commercial art studio. In 1920, while working at an ad company, Walt discovered the fantastical world of animation and immersed himself in the young medium. While keeping his day job, he began making Laugh-O-gram ad reels and animation shorts with artist Ub Iwerks. Laugh-O-grams Films soon went bankrupt, and Walt, at age 21 moved to California. Walt’s early drawings and mementoes from his childhood, as well as cameras similar to those he used in Kansas City, are highlighted in the Museum’s first gallery.

Gallery 2: Hollywood (1923-1928)

Walt arrived in California in 1923 hoping to find work as a director. But when he received a contract for his own work, he launched Disney Bros. Studio with his brother Roy. By the end of 1924, Walt was focusing on story development and directing and was no longer working as an animator. After several business setbacks, Disney created Mickey Mouse, which established Disney Bros. Studio as the leading animation studio in the country.
With the third Mickey Mouse film, Steamboat Willie, Walt joined the vanguard of the talking-picture revolution by creating an animated film with synchronized sound. Both Walt and Roy Disney married during this period, Walt to Lillian Bounds, a studio inker.
Original artwork, including the earliest known drawings of Mickey Mouse, illustrate Disney’s sensational success with his character. Other exhibit highlights include business correspondence between Walt and Roy, the move to the new Hyperion Studios, where Disney created four of its great animation features, and Walt’s meeting with and marriage to Lillian Bounds.

Always in Gallery 2 visitors can see 348 sketches of Steamboat Willie (left of the picture above), 16 seconds of the movie. Ub Iwerks was drawing per day as many as 696 sketches! Also in this room an incredible collection of the early Mickey Mouse merchandise!

Jump to the Disney and more full article to discover the others Walt Disney Family Museum galleries AND pictures of the stunning "Disneyland of Walt's Imagination" model!

Disney and more: Walt Disney Family Museum Grand Opening